The Inverseman goes international to continue his warpath of conquest of the human world but he took a wrong turn and ended up in an anime convention.
Last week I had the pleasure of going all the way up to Toronto for Anime North 2012, and I gotta say, Canada doesn’t skimp out on their cons. Maybe it’s because of the huge Asian population in Toronto? Let’s dive in eh?
Firstly, programming was split among the con center and three hotels. The Toronto Congress Center held the dealers’ room and artists’ alley while most of the panels were in the large hotel across from it. Gaming and additional panels were held in two hotels that were about a fifteen or twenty minute walk via the main highway over a bridge. Most of the time though, you were at the larger hotel and the con center. There were shuttle buses, but the only seemed to go… Across the street. Not even to the further out hotels, which was questionable. It was also surreal to see a bunch of con-goers board a school bus too. Maybe I should have cosplayed a teacher like Nozomu Itoshiki?
Morning lines to get into the con were long but relatively swift, at least if you were prepared enough. Organization was proper in the artists’ alley but the dealers room, despite the clear efforts, was less so. On the bright side, foot traffic was still moving and not the standstill jams on Main Street that constitute NYAF/CC. Panel entry was a tough sell, you had to basically be there an hour in advance for big panels before they filled to capacity very quickly, but there was room. Smaller panels, which while definitely more accessible, could quickly become standing-room-only in stuffier rooms, like the Pokemon and Cooking panel. For what few panels I attended, I was able to get into without issue, waiting at most fifteen minutes for most of them.
Personal aside: The Touhou showing is amazingly strong at Anime North. Lots of great cosplayers, and most of them were women for once. Back in America, the state of Touhou cosplay was mostly the following.
“We should totally find some slammin’ Touhou cosplay this year at the con…”
“But dude, nobody around here even knows what Touhou Project is… Especially the chicks…”
“Total buzzkill, bro… Dude, hold the phone, I got it! If nobody’s gonna do Touhou cosplay then we should be the totally radical dudes to do it! The chicks will think we’re totally fly!”
“Woah! Like BROhou cosplay?”
“You down Broseph?”
“Like duh! Broham”
“It’s gonna be extreme to da max!”
“Or in other words.”
Carrying on, I got to meet Mike McFarland and for that brief moment, my dreams of one day working down at Funimation were renewed. Carrying on, I saw a few panels of varying quality. Sadly I could not make the official industry panels.
The artists’ alley was particularly strong. Perhaps one or two points of power level above some of the other cons I’ve been to. Plenty of original doujinshi and fanbooks for your perusal. I even purchased a super cool Madoka fanbook from these friendly folks at Homodachi.
I ended my weekend by dropping by a Persona panel led by podcasters Rescue the Princess with an insightful discussion on the themes of P4 and a pretty sweet trivia contest at the end.
All in all, the con seemed well-organized for the parts I was at, with a few hiccups in small parts. The cosplay was strong in many cases as was the art. Dealers’ was not as enticing namely because of my international cash dealings, but overall Anime North was a great experience and hopefully one day, I will find myself in Canada yet again.
Join me next week when I start working for the Decepticons as their Ninja Consultant.